DIY or Buy

You see something online that you like. Maybe it's a painting. Maybe it's a sculpture. Maybe it's an article of clothing. Maybe it's a story. No matter what it is, it's for sale, and you look at it and think, "Well, I could do that." And the response from artists everywhere is:

"Yeah, but you didn't."

Hopefully, when you thought that you could do whatever it was, you meant it in a positive hey-that-looks-like-something-I-want-to-try-making way, not the pssh-how-lame-my-kid-could-do-better way. If it's the latter, then it's true. You could, maybe your kid could, but you and your kid didn't do it, so get over it. If it's the former, then welcome to the world of DIY or Buy.

Progesso has a great slogan: Make it Progresso or make it yourself. It's pompous and a flat-out dare, but it's honest. Are you going to make that soup yourself? Are you really going to get some clams and potatoes and cream and make that New England clam chowder yourself? Are you going to make your own little meatballs for your Italian Wedding soup? Maybe you are. Then you're in the DIY camp, and good for you. Then again, maybe you don't have the time or patience or interest or (if you're being honest with yourself) the skills to make it yourself. You're in the grocery store, you reach for the cans of Progresso, and you're in the Buy camp. And that's okay! There is ZERO shame in being in the Buy instead of the DIY. The only shame comes from being in the my-kid-could-do-better camp.

Maybe you're a Buy person when it comes to food but a DIY when it comes to clothes. You could be the opposite. You could jump around from camp to camp depending on mood or topic. The thing to remember about being in the Buy camp is that you are helping the DIY campers survive. Yes, you could go to a specialty bead store and learn how to make jewelry properly and spend hours creating little masterpieces. Or you can buy a handmade necklace from a local artist. Maybe you are that local artist who learned how to make nice jewelry and are trying to make a living. You go DIY for that, but you're going to Buy the bread from the baker sitting next to you at the market. And the baker will buy the eggs from the farmer (because the baker has no patience to raise chickens) and the farmer will buy a new basket from the weaver, and the weaver will decide to spend that money on a nice necklace that you made.

DIY or Buy creates a beautiful cycle of creating and sustaining one another in the tasks and crafts that some love to do and others love to appreciate.

The next time you see something and think "I could do that," then go and do it! Nothing holds you back but yourself - not even a beret-wearing art student smoking outside the university saying "Yeah, but you didn't." And if you don't feel like doing it, then make a purchase. Because the DIYs need the Buys to stay in business, and without the DIYs, the Buys have nowhere to send their money.

And artists of all kinds - the next time you want to say "Yeah, but you didn't" to someone (unless they're truly obnoxious and need a perspective reboot), remember how much time and effort you put into becoming the artist you are now, and especially remember all the things you don't do yourself. You're in the Buy camp for something, and you're supporting someone by being there.